Do not give in to fear, but have great courage.

Elementary Chapel speaker, Mr Beyersdorf.
October 11, 2017

In the Joshua 1, we read of the LORD’s calling on Joshua to lead Israel into the promised land. God called Joshua to be strong and courageous three times. This repetition would seem out of place unless we remembered Israel’s history. Forty years earlier, God commanded Israel under Moses to go up and take possession of the land He had promised to give them. But, when Israel saw that they were not strong enough do what God called them to do, fear gripped their hearts. Numbers 13:31 records what they said: “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” This statement reveals their problem. Israel’s faith was not in God, but in themselves. And when they realized they did not have the strength or the power to take the promised land, fear took the place of courage. Rather than being bold in faith toward God, they turned away in disobedience, not believing that the LORD could help.

However, after almost forty years of God proving that He would faithfully care for His people, God brought Israel a second time to take possession of the promised land. And God charged Joshua, their leader, to “be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.” And in verse 7: “be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses My servant commanded you.”  God was encouraging Joshua not to give in to the fear that had gripped Israel so many years earlier. Joshua would bring the people into the promised land, but he must have the courage to obey all that God was calling him to do.  In the times to come, even when God told Joshua to do what seemed impossible, Joshua would have to put his trust in the LORD and obey God with courage, believing that the LORD would keep His promises! Only in this way would Joshua be successful!

In a world where disobeying God is expected, and with the rising pressures coming against Christ’s true Church in this nation, more than ever our young people need to hear that this part of God’s calling on Joshua is also God’s calling on them. As our children grow, they will be faced with challenges in pursuing a faithful walk with Christ. There will be obstacles which seem like “giants in the land”, issues they are not strong enough to confront in themselves. They need to hear that Christ is not calling them to “take the promised land” in their own strength; He is calling them to be courageous, to trust in Him and to do what is right in His eyes. He will provide all they need to be faithful to His will.  God told Joshua that as he was careful to obey His commandments, the LORD’s presence would be with him and make his way successful (Joshua 1:5,8). Christ promised the same to all who trust in Him and seek to obey His commandments: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We will all need great courage no less than Joshua, and we will need to be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might, if we are to fulfill Christ’s calling to live for His Name in this fallen world.